Mercy Hospital Joplin
Healthcare — Joplin, MO

Mercy Hospital Joplin

The new 875,000-square-foot, seven-story, 260-plus private room hospital replaced the former St. John’s Mercy Regional Medical Center demolished in the May 22, 2011, EF-5 tornado. The deadliest tornado in Missouri and the U.S. since 1947 directly hit the hospital.

The new hospital includes medical surgical, critical care, women’s/children’s (labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum rooms), behavioral health and rehab. The bottom three floors of the structure include hospital space, with a seven-story patient tower and a four-story clinic tower rising above the hospital space. There is a separate 30,000-square-foot central utility plant connected to the main structure by a 450-foot underground tunnel.

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  • Archimages
  • HKS, Inc.


  • Heidman & Associates

The Challenge

In May of 2011 a massive EF-5 tornado roared through Joplin, MO, destroying everything in its path including that community’s very busy hospital, St. John’s Mercy Regional Medical Center. Just four short months later McCarthy and HKS partnered with Mercy to manage design and construction of a new 890,000 sf, 205-bed hospital. The biggest challenge of this new facility was its extremely aggressive schedule and sprawling size, with the goal of having patients on site just 46 months after the devastation. That timeline is approximately half the time normally anticipated to plan, design, and construct a similarly sized hospital.

McCarthy is working with us as a true partner to get us to the finish line. We'll appreciate their work even more after we move in, because of the problems we'll have avoided due to McCarthy's healthcare experience.

John Farnen, Executive Director
Mercy Strategic Projects

Mercy Hospital Joplin

The How

Together with our partners, we started working with Mercy to develop the functional program for the replacement hospital in August 2011. To overcome the distance barrier between the design and preconstruction teams, we co-located physically and digitally. Design-assist MEP subcontractors were also brought on board early to enable the team to design, with the help of a coordinated 3D BIM model, and construct the facility in record time. As a result of this truly collaborative approach, the team was able to get from initial design to breaking ground in just five months. One of the many time and cost-saving benefits provided by the design-assist and BIM process was the use of prefabrication on the project. While the steel structure was being erected and the concrete slabs were being placed, the MEP and other required subcontractors were in a nearby facility prefabricating patient room headwalls, bathroom walls, pre-piping and pre-installing controls on VAV boxes, and pipe/conduit/cable tray racks.

Speed of delivery was of the utmost importance. It took a truly collaborative effort to design and construct this hospital so quickly.

John Farnen, Executive Director
Mercy Strategic Projects

Two McCarthy construction workers

The Outcome

On March 22, 2015, just 46 months after the tornado hit, the new 890,000-square-foot hospital was accepting patients and had accomplished the goal of showing a devastated community that recovery was not only possible, but absolute. The facility includes a nine-story hospital patient tower and five-story clinic tower. It houses several units including medical surgical, critical care, women’s/children’s (labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum rooms), neonatal intensive care, behavioral health and rehab.


McCarthy has given us what we've really needed most. They know how to make things happen. They don't need a set of drawings to get things done. They're able to figure it out and think on their feet. They just know how to build stuff.

John Farnen, Executive Director
Mercy Strategic Projects

Awards and Recognition

AGC logo
2015 Keystone Award

$40 million or more
Mercy Hospital Joplin
AGC of Missouri

enr logo
2015 Best Project, Healthcare

Mercy Hospital Joplin
Engineering News-Record Midwest

Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute logo
2015 Design Honorable Mention

Harry H. Edwards Industry Advancement
Mercy Hospital Joplin
Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute

Melvin award hammer
2013 McCarthy Chairman's Spirit of Ownership

Mercy Hospital Joplin
McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.